Dr. Wilson, the vice president for health affairs and dean of medicine at the University of Florida Health Science Center in Jacksonville, was the second finalist for the UNMC chancellor's position to visit campus. During his three-day visit, he met with various members of the campus community.
Stressing his familiarity with the institution, the city and the region, Dr. Wilson -- who was the chairman of the psychiatry department at Creighton University for 11 years -- said at the forum that he was prepared to "help a fine institution move even further forward."
Lauding the tenure of Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., as "profoundly transformational," Dr. Wilson said he would use the extraordinary partnership between university officials and community leaders to continue to create a "first class, world class health center."
Dr. Wilson said he had always considered himself more a conductor than a soloist - helping orchestrate others toward achievement -- and cautioned his audience not to mistake energy and motion for leadership.
A great leader grasps the vision of the collective group and moves forward "tactically and strategically," Dr. Wilson said, though he added that there was "no time to complacently appreciate past successes.
"We will move forward quickly, but only on understanding the full range of issues," he said.
He targeted continued growth in research, advances in education and critical care service needs as issues to be addressed going forward.
Research mechanisms in place since the time of Eisenhower are receding in the rearview mirror, Dr. Wilson said, at the same time that enormous changes are reshaping the health care landscape.
His breadth of administrative and academic experience -- "pretty unusual for a physician today," Dr. Wilson said -- put him in a position to benefit UNMC, and his local roots will let him hit the ground running as chancellor.
During questioning, Dr. Wilson spoke about working with the Florida legislature and added that he had had some experience in that area while at Creighton, as well.
Dr. Wilson stressed his local roots as an Iowa native, and said one of the reasons he was interested in leaving his current position to return to Nebraska was that the Midwest was home.